Dennis "Tink" Bell

Dennis Bell, known as "Tink" lost his life on 26th July 1959 in what Sir Vivian Fuchs described as "terrible year."  Alan Sharman had been killed when walking across a snow slope with Russell Thompson three months before in April.  As the photographs which were sent in by Russell, shown below, Tink had a great sense of humour and enjoyed acting out jokes much to the enjoyment of everyone on base.

"Jeff Stokes, Ken Gibson, Colin "Dick" Barton and Denis Bell were out on a surveying and geological journey. Ascending a glacier, Bell and Stokes were breaking trail a long way ahead of the second dog team. They had negotiated a crevassed area lower down, and believed that at last they were in the clear.  The deep soft snow made the going difficult and the dogs showed signs of tiredness. To encourage them to persevere Bell went ahead but unwisely without his skis. Suddenly he disappeared leaving a hole in the crevasse bridge through which he had fallen,

"Peering into the depths Stokes called repeatedly and was greatly relieved to be answered. Lowering a rope almost a hundred feet, he told Bell to tie himself on. As he could not haul up the weight, he hitched his end of the rope to the team. The dogs took the strain and began to pull. Now it was easy and everything was going well. But Bell had tied the rope through his belt instead of round his body, perhaps because of the angle at which he lay in the crevasse. As he reached the top his body jammed against the lip, the belt broke, and down he went again. This time there was no reply to Stoke's calls. It was a particularly tragic fatality which one really felt should never have happened, and thus doubly grievous." Extracted from Of Ice and Men

Dennis's brother David Bell now living in Australia writes:

"Its getting on for 50yrs now since my brother Dennis Bell died at Station G Admiralty Bay on 26th July 1959.

"It has always been inconclusive that he never had any kind of dedication to his memory. Going back to the time of his death, both my mother and I had the same dream, that we were falling and the next morning the telegram arrived to advise of his death.

"How amazing. He was six years older than me....Also I often "saw" him after his death all around the place, always walking ahead of me, in his usual attire of either a duffel coat or sports coat. I then would have to overtake that person, and get a better look!

"Dennis was the oldest of three siblings and was my hero as he seemed to be able to turn his hand to anything, service petrol engines, photography including processing his own films, built a radio from scratch, spending hours taking down morse code. Other interests included scouting, theatre and eating!!!

"I will also be reminded of his loathing of organised sport, he just could not see the point. He would rather have a social drink with his family and friends with plenty of laughter."

Russell Thompson kindly sent these pictures of Dennis "Tink" Bell at Admiralty Bay (Base G) 1959


Midwinter Party 1959

Tink with Jeff Stokes, dressed for the Midwinter Party 1959

Go Shell

Tink and Jeff re-enacting the 1950's advert "Go-Shell"



More of Tink's typical humour at the Christmas Party in 1958
Rob Stevens with his head on the anvil



Midwinter 1959 - left to right Tink with "Muck," Russell Thompson with "Rhum"
and Evan Watson with "Eigg"



  Tink in the kitchen, an excellent, if messy, chef. 



sitting on bed >

Tink writing his diary, sitting on his bed. 




  • © British Antarctic Monument Trust 2019
  • Registered charity number 01123064
  • 27 Sullivan Road London SE11 4UH UK